Lexington Legends strike first in best-of-five Atlantic League championship series

·2 min read

The Lexington Legends’ pursuit of a third consecutive minor league baseball championship is gaining momentum.

Lexington banged out 11 hits Friday night and defeated the Long Island Ducks 7-5 in New York in Game 1 of the Atlantic League of Professional Baseball championship series.

The victory was Lexington’s third straight this postseason. After dropping the opener of its best-of-three South Division playoff series to Charleston (W.Va.), the Legends went on to win the final two contests and clinch a spot in the best-of-five finals.

Lexington is vying for its third consecutive minor league baseball championship. The Legends won South Atlantic League titles in 2018 and 2019. The 2020 SAL season was canceled because of COVID-19. The Legends moved to the ALPB ahead of the 2021 season.

Game 2 of Lexington’s series with North Division champion Long Island was scheduled for Saturday night in New York. Game 3 is Monday night at Lexington Legends Ballpark. Games 4 and 5, if necessary, would also be played in Lexington.

Playoff tickets are available online at LexingtonLegends.com or by calling the team box office at 859-422-7867. First pitch Monday night will be 6:31 p.m., with gates opening at 5:30 p.m.

Cole Sturgeon, Brandon Phillips, Courtney Hawkins and Juan Silverio each contributed two hits for the Legends on Friday night. Hawkins, who homered in the first inning, drove in two runs, and Phillips, Roberto Baldoquin and Tillman Pugh had one RBI apiece.

Lexington scored single runs in the first, second and eighth innings and scored twice each in the fourth and sixth innings.

Long Island mounted a significant challenge in the bottom of the ninth that the Legends were able to quell. Austin Adams replaced Derek Self on the mound but was quickly in trouble, allowing a walk and a single. After Adams struck out the next two batters, he walked two more to load the bases then force home a run. Long Island’s Chris Shaw then lined out to center fielder Cole Sturgeon to end the threat.

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